[Pedagogy-list] How to Teach A Good First Day of Class

Hocutt, Daniel dhocutt at richmond.edu
Mon Jan 7 09:02:32 EST 2019


Good morning,

As we look forward to the start of the spring semester (as a reminder, classes start one week from today, on Monday, January 14), I wanted to share this advice guide, How to Teach A Good First Day of Class<https://www.chronicle.com/interactives/advice-firstday>, by James M. Lang published online in The Chronicle of Higher Education. It’s worth remembering that we are making first impressions on our first day of class; in Lang’s words, “On that first day, I would argue, your students are forming a lasting impression not just of you as a teacher but of your course, too. Their early, thin-slice judgments are powerful enough to condition their attitudes toward the entire course, the effort they are willing to put into it, and the relationship they will have with you and their peers throughout the semester.”

Lang continues:

So that first class meeting is a big deal. You want to give students a taste of the engaging intellectual journey they will undertake in the coming weeks — and you have great flexibility in how you go about it. Helping you to make that opening session as effective as possible, whatever your discipline, is the goal of this online guide. What you can expect to find here:

·         I’ll start, as we academics so love to do, with a little bit of theory — specifically, four core principles that can help shape your planning for the first day of your course.

·         Next, I’ll cover the logistics of a successful first day, including managing the space and technology as well as getting to know your students.

·         To show you how to put the principles and the logistics into practice, I will provide examples of what a good set of first-day activities might look like in four disciplines.

·         I’ll finish with some suggestions for how to support the good work you have done on the first day with some follow-up activities.

As you prepare for your first class meeting, consider the impression you are making, and the impact that impression will have on the remainder of the semester.

Cheers,
Daniel

—
Daniel L. Hocutt, R’92 & G’98
Web Manager & Adjunct Professor
School of Professional & Continuing Studies
Special Programs Building 215
University of Richmond, VA 23173
o. (804) 287-6658 f. (804) 289-8138
dhocutt at richmond.edu<mailto:dhocutt at richmond.edu>

Community Coordinator,
SPCS Pedagogy Community of Practice<http://blog.richmond.edu/pedagogy>

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